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How to simulate being a sailor | Around the Waterfront

How to simulate being a sailor:

1. Buy a steel dumpster, paint it gray inside and out, and live in it for six months.

2. Run all the pipes and wires in your house exposed on the walls.

3. Repaint your entire house every month.

4. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of the bathtub and move the shower head to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you turn off the water while you soap down.

5. Put lube oil in your humidifier and set it on high.

6. Once a week, blow compressed air up your chimney, making sure the wind carries the soot onto your neighbor's house. Ignore his complaints.

7. Once a month, take all major appliances apart and then reassemble them.

8. Raise the thresholds and lower the headers of your front and back doors so that you either trip or bang your head every time you pass through them.

9. Disassemble and inspect your lawnmower every week.

10. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, turn your water heater temperature up to 200 degrees. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, turn the water heater off. On Saturdays and Sundays, tell your family they use too much water during the week, so no bathing will be allowed.

11. Raise your bed to within 6 inches of the ceiling, so you can't turn over without getting out and then getting back in.

12. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Have your spouse whip open the curtain about 3 hours after you go to sleep, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and say "Sorry, wrong rack."

13. Make your family qualify to operate each appliance in your house - dishwasher operator, blender technician, etc.

14. Have your neighbor come over each day at 0500, blow a whistle so loud Helen Keller could hear it, and shout "Reveille, reveille, all hands heave out and trice up."

15. Have your mother-in-law write down everything she's going to do the following day, then have her make you stand in your back yard at 0600 while she reads it to you.

16. Submit a request chit to your father-in-law requesting permission to leave your house before 1500.

17. Empty all the garbage bins in your house and sweep the driveway three times a day, whether it needs it or not. (Now sweepers, sweepers, man your brooms, give the ship a clean sweep down fore and aft, empty all heads over the fantail.)

18. Have your neighbor collect all your mail for a month, read your magazines, and randomly lose every 5th item before delivering it to you.

19. Watch no TV except for movies played in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch, then show a different one.

20. When your children are in bed, run into their room with a megaphone shouting that your home is under attack and ordering them to their battle stations. (Now general quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations.)

21. Make your family menu a week ahead of time without consulting the pantry or refrigerator.

22. Post a menu on the kitchen door informing your family that they are having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line for an hour. When finally get to the kitchen, tell them you are out of steak, but they can have dried ham or hot dogs. Repeat daily until they ignore the menu and just ask for hot dogs.

23. Bake a cake. Prop up one side of the pan so the cake bakes unevenly. Spread icing real thick to level it off.

24. Get up every night around midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread. (midrats)

25. Set your alarm clock to go off at random during the night. At the alarm, jump up and dress as fast as you can, making sure to button your top shirt button and tuck your pants into your socks. Run out into the backyard and uncoil the garden hose.

26. Every week or so, throw your cat or dog in the pool and shout "Man overboard port side!" Rate your family members on how fast they respond.

27. Put the headphones from your stereo on your head, but don't plug them in. Hang a paper cup around your neck on a string. Stand in front of the stove, and speak into the paper cup "Stove manned and ready." After an hour or so, speak into the cup again "Stove secured." Roll up the headphones and paper cup and stow them in a shoebox.

28. Place a podium at the end of your driveway. Have your family stand watches at the podium, rotating at 4-hour intervals. This is best done when the weather is worst. January is a good time.

29. When there is a thunderstorm in your area, get a wobbly rocking chair, sit in it and rock as hard as you can until you become nauseous. Make sure to have a supply of stale crackers in your shirt pocket.

30. For former engineers: bring your lawn mower into the living room, and run it all day long.

— Fred Hoeppner is a retired Navy captain and an active competitive sailor. Contact him at fphoeppner@interisland.net

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